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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has called diabetes "an emerging epidemic." It is the 6th leading cause of death in America. This site and the PSA are a prevention message and not designed for an audience that has type 1 diabetes. We are talking to the families of the 9 million overweight children who are at risk of type 2 diabetes. The rate of obesity among our children has tripled since 1980. Being overweight is one of the leading modifiable risk factors for type 2 diabetes and all experts agree that diet and exercise is the best way to help prevent it. Visit the helpful links below for sites where you can learn more.

Watch the PSA

Diabetes is No Picnic on youTube

Tips for parents

DOs

Get your whole family involved. Itís easier to prevent diabetes when your whole family gets involved. Serve your family healthy foods, such as a mix of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, and low-fat meats, milk, and cheese. Make healthy snacks, like fruit, highly visible in your home and do not keep a lot of sweets, like cookies, candy, or soda around the house. Pay attention and encourage your family to be more physically active by planning activities that you can do together, such as riding bikes or going for a walk. Join a community program like the YMCA to enjoy a variety of low-cost or free activities.

Encourage your teen to take an active role in his or her diabetes prevention. Help your teen set goals. Start with small goals, such as cutting back on soda, or riding a bike a couple of times a week. Reward your teen when goals are met, and encourage your teen to make every new goal just a little bit harder.

Be a good example. Watch your own weight. Kids under age three who are overweight, but whose parents are not overweight, have a low risk for becoming overweight adults. If one parent is obese, it doubles a childís risk for adult obesity.

Get more physical activity. There are many benefits to regular physical activity. It can help you lose weight but even if it doesn't, it's still important to get off the couch. Whether you lose weight or not, physical activity lowers blood sugar and boosts your sensitivity to insulin ó which helps keep your blood sugar within a normal range. Research shows that both aerobic exercise and resistance training can help control diabetes, but the greatest benefits come from a fitness program that includes both. There is a direct relationship between the amount of time spent watching TV and degree of overweight. TV-viewing can directly cause obesity through replacing physical activity, increased eating while watching, and reduced metabolism while watching. Television can also have an indirect effect; advertising can influence kids to increase their calorie intake by eating and drinking more junk food/beverages.

Get plenty of fiber. It's rough, it's tough ó and it may reduce the risk of diabetes by improving your blood sugar control. Fiber intake is also associated with a lower risk of heart disease. It may even promote weight loss by helping you feel full. Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

Go for whole grains. Although it's not clear why, whole grains may reduce your risk of diabetes and help maintain blood sugar levels. Try to make at least half your grains whole grains. Many foods made from whole grains come ready to eat, including various breads, pasta products and ready-to-eat cereals. Look for the word “whole” on the package and among the first few items in the ingredient list.

Lose extra weight. If you're overweight, diabetes prevention may hinge on weight loss. Every pound you lose can improve your health. And you may be surprised by how much. In one study, overweight adults who lost a modest amount of weight ó 5 percent to 10 percent of initial body weight ó and exercised regularly reduced the risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent over three years.

Skip fad diets and make healthier choicesí Low-carb, low-glycemic load or other fad diets may help you lose weight at first, but their effectiveness at preventing diabetes isn't known; nor are their long-term effects. And by excluding or strictly limiting a particular food group, you may be giving up essential nutrients. Instead, think variety and portion control as part of an overall healthy-eating plan.

Talk to Your Pediatrician. If your child shows signs of becoming overweight or has risk factors, work with your pediatrician to start prevention as early as possible for the best results for your child.

DON'Ts

Don't Use Food As A Comfort Measure. Donít closely monitor the amounts your child eats or nag your child to eat at mealtime. This can interfere with your childís response to hunger and feeling full. These two responses are an important basis for healthy eating behaviors.

Donít Focus Too Much On The Scale. Focus on healthy living: good eating habits and physical activity. Girls whose moms were worried that their daughter would be overweight were more likely to have abnormal eating behaviors.

Donít encourage the ďclean-plate club.Ē Let your kids listen to their hunger and find healthy snacks to help them make it throughout the day.

Donít let your children watch television, play video games, or surf the web more than 2 hours per day. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend television viewing for children age 2 or younger. Instead, encourage your children to find fun activities to do with family members or on their own that simply involve more activity.

Helpful Links

StopDiabetes.com

weCan.org

CDC's Diabetes Program

Kid's Health